National Eating Disorders Association

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How to respond to disordered thoughts?

So, my girlfriend is currently seeking treatment for her ED. And I feel like I can support her okay generally, but I really don't know how to respond when she says disordered thoughts.

I was wondering how you all respond or what you do.

Some examples of things she says and I don't know how to respond to:

"I just wish I was as thin as her."
"This scales says I gained, that can't be right, what the hell."
"I ate a lot earlier, so I can't eat for the rest of the day."

There are obviously other things that she says, but you get the general idea. I just have no idea what to say in these situations.

Any help?

Hi Megan8!

Hi Megan8!

Welcome to the NEDA forums! I am so glad that you have come to the forums for some help and support in regards to your girlfriend. From my own personal experience with an eating disorder, whenever I would say any disordered thoughts to a friend or family member, I found it extremely helpful for them not to reinforce my desire to be thin. For example, if I would state, “I feel fat” or “I wish I was thinner” or “I wish I was as thin as her,” my friends and/or family members would suggest that I explore my own fears of being fat or what they think I would be able to achieve by being thin. Furthermore, be careful and avoid critical or accusatory statements, as this can make your girlfriend more defensive. Instead focus on the specific behaviors that worry you. This link, which is also provided on the NEDA website,, goes a little bit more in depth and provides more examples on what to say to your loved one.

Have you also thought about maybe accompanying her when she goes in for a session with her counselor? I know that could be arranged for you and your girlfriend to have a session together and you both can explore more helpful ways to speak to her when she is saying disordered thoughts. Let me know if that helps or if you need anymore suggestions! Keep us posted and I wish you the best of luck!


How about...?:

How about...?:

Thanks for sharing that with me it means a lot. You are perfect.

The problem is not your weight, it's how you feel about it, so I'm very happy that you are seeking help for that, and I'm gonna be by your side the whole way.

Those hurtful thoughts are what is unhealthy, so that should be our focus, we have to work on that. I wish you saw yourself through my eyes, you are beautiful.

There is no satisfaction on giving in to those thoughts, it goes worse and worse. Being (even) thinner won't make you happy, but acceptance of yourself will. It's an ambitious goal, but it's worth it, and you are loved, and you are not alone.

I'm as lost as you are, these are just things that come to my mind. I wish you the best luck.